CBD: The Cinderella Molecule
“This changes everything!”
That was the immediate reaction of Bay Area journalist Fred Gardner as he stood in the office of Steep Hill Laboratory in Oakland and eyed a chromatogram showing the unusual cannabinoid content of a hitherto unknown marijuana strain. The year was 2009, and the strain of interest, an oddity called Soma A-Plus, didn’t top the charts for THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), a.k.a. the high-causer, unlike the several thousand other bud samples that Steep Hill had previously tested for California’s medical marijuana dispensaries and growers.
Soma A-Plus was the first of a handful of soon-to-be-discovered strains imbued with a significant amount of cannabidiol (CBD), a compound with intriguing medical properties. One of these strains, Women’s Collective Stinky Purple, tipped the scales at over 10 percent CBD by dry weight, with little THC. This genetic anomaly wasn’t hemp—it was a drug plant, a high-resin, CBD-rich marijuana strain brimming with medicated goo. But anyone who smoked it or consumed it as an edible wouldn’t get high, because CBD isn’t psychoactive. In fact, CBD can actually lessen or neutralize the THC high, depending on how much of each compound is in a given strain or product.
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